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GA English on Sunday: News in Brief from Bonn and the Region

GA English on Sunday : News in Brief from Bonn and the Region

Weekend bar strolls are happening at weekends in Bonn old town, as restaurateurs fear for their existence, hairdressers in the Rhine-Sieg district expect a rush of customers when they reopen this week after lockdown, the altars in Bonn Cathedral will be cleaned with a laser as part of restoration work, and more action is needed in response to the bicycle boom – here is our news in brief on Sunday.

You can take a weekend bar strolls at weekends in Bonn old town

Bonn. Due to the pandemic, restaurateurs fear for their existence; therefore, the operators of Nyx, Wache, Brix, Namenlos, Blow Up, Babel, Fynn's Inn and Zone have joined forces and are offering to-go sales of drinks to strollers in Bonn’s old town at weekends.

Moritz Lewerenz and Jule Evanova said "I think it's great that the pub walkabout exists. You can finally get out and see some people. Even if it's only a couple of hours, it's better than sitting at home," Lewerenz says. Evanova is happy for the restaurateurs, "People are now getting a chance to go back to work and make money, I think that's really good." The walkabout was something both wanted to do more often.

The owner of the Zone, Martin Linder, says "it's important for us to be open so we can maintain a presence for people." He continued: "The winter months are actually our core business, and that has fallen away, but we will survive somehow”. Linder is able to sell drinks to regular customers and he's waiting for easing soon. Until then, he has to make sure that his clientele also keeps to the safety distances. "You have to remind people from time to time not to form groups, but that also usually works."

Nyx operator Ragnar Fleischmann stands in front of the sales booth in Frankenbadplatz at weekends and makes sure that strollers observe the coronavirus rules. On average, 60 people spread out on the square in small and larger groups. The main difficulty, he says, is reminding people that no alcohol may be consumed at the Nyx sales booth itself. Most people are reasonable, but don’t usually understand the logic behind it. In general, there is a lot of activity on Frankenbadplatz at closing time, reports Fleischmann: "The square is generally quite busy.” The public order office is on hand every evening, observes Fleischmann.

On Breite Straße, the operator of the Pinte, Lukas Liebersbach, is happy about the number of customers at his window. "It's nice to open up again. We are positively surprised at how many people are coming to us," he said. This is important, because the soccer pub is doing very badly financially, and if nothing changes in the situation in the near future, the Pinte will have to close down.

Friday evening in the old town was relatively quiet and only a few strollers were out and about, mainly small groups, but this may also have been due to the single-digit temperatures.

(Original text, Niklas Schröder)

Rhine-Sieg district hairdressers expect a rush of customers when they reopen this week

Rhein-Sieg. After a ten-week lockdown, the approximately 500 hairdressers in the Rhine-Sieg district are allowed to reopen on March 1. Due to the high demand, some hairdressers are offering additional appointments and extending their opening hours. The salons have once again reviewed their hygiene concepts that have been in place since last year. Since the second Lockdown, many are in dire financial straits. According to the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg Hairdressers' Guild, 20 per cent of all salons are on the verge of going out of business.

Robert Fuhs is looking forward to finally being able to work again in his Witterschlick salon on Monday. To accommodate the regular customers, he will open even on Mondays. Oedekoven resident Imad Rahi's salon is also completely booked for the next three weeks. "After Mrs. Merkel's last speech in mid-February, a customer called me as early as 6 a.m. for an appointment. People can't wait for their visit to the hairdresser," he noted.

The 48-year-old Heimerzheimerin Ulrike Uselli runs "Uli's Hair Studio" without employees, so she can decide on her own opening hours and her salon will be open the first week for six days instead of four days as previously.

Rheinbach hairdresser Jörg Püts is well prepared for "Day X" in his three salons, including one in Wachtberg, and has a disinfection station at the entrance door, separate areas for hair colouring, Plexiglas partitions between the washbasins, and sufficient spacing between the chairs. In his salon, 18 employees will serve 120 customers on the first day alone – "the rush will die down again at some point," he says.

Bornheim hairdresser Hendrik Fuhs said that "since the Chancellor's announcement that we could reopen, our phones haven't stopped ringing." Since then, the office has been staffed daily from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to accommodate customers' appointment requests. To cope with the rush, the salon on Königstraße will now be open an hour longer until 8 p.m.

(Original text, Susanne Träupmann)

The altars in Bonn Cathedral will be cleaned with a laser as part of restoration work

Bonn. Bonn Cathedral is still a large construction site, both inside and out. The facades are covered by scaffolding, and protection helmets are compulsory in the closed nave. After more than six years of preliminary investigations and general renovation, an end is now in sight. The seven baroque-style altars, which are extremely fragile, are going to be cleaned using state-of-the-art laser technology.

"We expect the interior of the basilica to be usable again for church services from 1 November," said city deacon Wolfgang Picken. In just under eight months, the Bonn landmark will be able to offer its visitors a completely new experience. The main reason for this will be the completely restored and cleaned Trinity altar, which will then be placed in a new location opposite the main entrance. Previously, the altar, which was made in 1704 in Cologne, was somewhat overlooked in a distant corner of the cathedral, which meant that its motifs relating to the city of Bonn were always in danger of being lost in the vaulting. This was also the case with the oil painting in the altar, which depicts the cityscape of Bonn with the city patrons Cassius and Florentius and St. Helena watching over it. Now, the sacred work of art, also known as the city patron altar, is to be moved to a more prominent position, so that the eyes of visitors will immediately be directed to it. Dismantling, moving and erecting the object, which weighs over eight tons, will cost 130,000 euros, which was raised with the support of the Münster-Bauverein.

To achieve the greatest possible effect afterwards, the baroque alabaster decorations on the altar had to be cleaned from centuries of dust and dirt. In view of the enormous sensitivity of alabaster, two experienced Cologne restorers, Susanne Brinkmann and Christina Verbeek, were entrusted with the task. Thanks to their innovative laser beam process, they can clean the pressure-sensitive alabaster with light without touching it.

"Unlike marble, alabaster is much more sensitive to external influences and mechanical stress. It is also water soluble. Conventional restoration methods such as solvent application are therefore unsuitable," explained Brinkmann. To make the angel sculptures, crosses and coats of arms shine brilliantly white again, the restorers processed the individual fragments of the altar for six weeks with the moving head of a modified CL20 backpack laser. Working with the manufacturer Clean Lasersysteme GmbH and the Fraunhofer Institute for Materials and Technology, they adapted their mobile laser device specifically for restoration use. The dirt on the object absorbs the energy of the light beam, and the resulting thermal energy causes it to expand, and that in turn causes the selective layers to flake off. The resulting plasma or dust cloud can then be extracted. What sounds so simple, however, requires a great deal of experience and skill. Verbeek and Brinkmann have acquired this during numerous jobs, for example in Egyptian burial chambers.

(Original text, Jakub Drogowski)

Comment on the bicycle boom – more action is needed

Bonn/Region. Bicycles and e-bikes have become even more important companions in the coronavirus crisis. But are the bike paths in Germany sufficient? The pandemic offers a reason for a rethink in politics.

The bicycle has become the loyal companion of Germans in the coronavirus crisis. There are good reasons for this: Bicycles are climate-neutral on the road, space-saving and quiet, but nevertheless, these are certainly not the main reasons. The attractiveness of the bicycle is that necessary virus-free journeys can be combined with exercise.

Many politicians have been photographed dynamically on a bicycle. Bremen's mayor, Henning Scherf, regularly cycled to the Senate on his old Klepper, and Rudolf Scharping was photographed in a skin-tight cycling outfit. Even CSU Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer occasionally poses with a green and yellow bicycle helmet. Even with a suit, it has long since become socially acceptable.

An obvious discrepancy to this media display is the disregard that cycling has received in politics so far. Until last autumn, there was not a single professorship for cycling concepts in Germany. One could be led into thinking that this is intentional; after all, there is a lack of scientific expertise that could reproach politicians for their timid policies. In practice, too, states and municipalities are not very generous when it comes to infrastructure. Even when bike lanes are full of potholes, riddled with roots, far too narrow or even non-existent, little happens for years in many places; such behaviour would be unthinkable for roads for cars.

Now, the coronavirus situation provides a reason to rethink. Along with digitalisation and the trend towards home offices, the new love of bicycles could be one of the areas where there is a push in innovation. More action on the matter is needed, instead of lip service. Sixty million euros for the measures resulting from the Bonn bike referendum may seem like a lot of money at first glance, but the investment benefits everyone. It has long ceased to be possible to speak of a group of car drivers, cyclists or pedestrians. The use of transportation has become more diverse and purpose-oriented. Practically everyone uses different means of transport; that is why we should be willing to pay for attractive bike paths.

(Original text; Martin Wein)

(Translation, John Chandler)